Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Sabres President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine's two-month search for a general manager ended with an unexpected addition.
In hiring Tim Murray to take over as GM on Thursday, LaFontaine also announced the addition of Hockey Hall of Fame executive Craig Patrick to serve as a special adviser to assist in transforming the NHL's worst team into a contender.
"It's comfortable for me to be in the middle, having played center my whole life," the former Sabres captain said, seated between Murray and Patrick. "To have these wingers is pretty special."
Murray has the background, decisiveness and even a hockey pedigree LaFontaine was seeking in a general manager.
The 50-year-old Murray is the nephew of Senators general manager Bryan Murray, and has spent much of his 20 years in the NHL being mentored by his uncle, including the past seven in Ottawa as an assistant GM.
"I think we have the next great eye for talent," LaFontaine said. "He's earned it. He's done every job to get to this point. He's had success everywhere he's been. And he's going to have success here in Buffalo."
Patrick assumes a role similar to the one he held the previous two seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets. It's LaFontaine's belief that Patrick's 30-plus years of experience — including 17 with the Pittsburgh Penguins — can provide focus to a team in transition after general manager Darcy Regier and first-year coach Ron Rolston were fired in mid-November.
"Craig's going to help evaluate. He's got the experience," LaFontaine said. "He's won Stanley Cups. He's gone through rebuilds."
The Sabres' front-office has begun taking shape in the two months since LaFontaine took over.
"I'm on a mission to bring the right people here," LaFontaine said. "I'm still not done. We still have a lot of work."